New US ambassador to Netherlands grilled over 2015 comments

Pete Hoekstra new U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands gives a statement during a press conference at his residence in The Hague Netherlands Wednesday Jan. 10 2018

US Ambassador to Netherlands Clashes with Dutch Reporters Over Remarks About Muslims

'Peter Hoekstra, the newly minted US ambassador to the Netherlands, held his first conference with the Dutch media at his new residence in The Hague Wednesday.

The new United States ambassador to the Netherlands refused on Wednesday to explain his 2015 comments that Muslims had brought chaos to the country "burning cars and politicians", as he took up his post. Hoekstra denied making them-despite a video of the conference that showed otherwise.

"In the Netherlands you don't get a straight up answer, if you ask straight up questions", he said.

"It is not about my personal views anymore".

"Thank you", Hoekstra said, before trying to call on someone else over the clamor of the reporters in the room. Instead, he is going to try to explain his previous statements, made on USA television in 2015, to the Dutch media and local communities.

"I'm not revisiting the issue", Hoekstra replied.

"Yeah, but for what remarks exactly?"

"Chaos in the Netherlands - there are cars being burned. Is that something you believe?" "Yes or no?" a reporter asked. He chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence or was the ranking Republican on the Committee from 2004-2011.

"Any example of a Dutch politician who is burned in recent years?" one reporter asked.

"This is the Netherlands". Another told the former congressman, "This is the Netherlands; you have to answer questions".

"I didn't say that. That is actually an incorrect statement", he told reporter Wouter Zwart. Chaos in the Netherlands. There are cars being burned.

"Are politicians being burned in the Netherlands in the past? And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands", Hoekstra says in the clip.

The term "no-go zone" is used by anti-Muslim activists and some conservatives to suggest an area where non-Muslims are unwelcome.

In a statement past year, Hoekstra said: "I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview". "Please accept my apology", he wrote.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Hoekstra for the Dutch ambassadorship in November. Many political journalists have also denounced the New York Times for publishing interviews with President Donald Trump that include few or no follow-up questions.

According to an article by the Associated Press and supporting video of a press conference, journalists in the Netherlands said "you have to answer questions", as the former politician from West Michigan looked at them without responding as they sought clarification.

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